The Awakening Imagination, by Michael D. O'Brien
Based on a lecture Michael D. O’Brien gave at the Centre for Faith and Culture, Oxford, this essay traces the long history of mankind’s creative imagination throughout millennia of expansion and growth—citing examples that range from cave painting to classical sculpture, the icon and manuscript illumination to film and contemporary literature. The author weaves together his understanding of numerous significant works of art, philosophical insights, spiritual reflection, and personal stories, which, combined, offer a multi-dimensional vision of our origin and our future. Underlying it all is the question of Man’s nature and what our creative powers reveal about our true identity as children of God.
O’Brien proposes that a new iconography is waiting for us, one that will be built upon all that the historical imagination has given, but reinvigorated by a rejuvenated Christian consciousness. Humility alone will allow us to find again our proper place in the hierarchy of creation: “In submission to natural and supernatural law,” he writes, “to the absolutes, in obedience and prayer, by opening our interior life and the intellectual life to the full authority of the Holy Spirit, we will germinate a little seed. And from it entire forests can spring and may yet cover the earth.”